6 gadgets that clean the world’s oceans
By Cat DiStasio
In grade school, most children learn about the fragility of our ocean ecosystems. Despite this, the world’s vast waters have become a de facto dumping ground for toxic chemicals, agricultural runoff and plastic trash. With ocean pollution at an all-time high, the question of how to turn it around weighs heavily on the minds of many environmentalists and engineers. So far they’ve come up with everything from oil-cleaning magic wands to massive floating cleanup arrays, but it’s a race to see which method will most effectively reverse the damage humans have wrought. Which of these amazing gadgets do you think has the best shot at cleaning up our oceans?
Twitter says your timeline isn’t changing
Were you panicking at the thought of Twitter messing with your timeline order? Were you declaring #RIPTwitter and getting ready to move to Peach? Relax. Twitter chief Jack Dorsey has piped up to say that there’s no truth to the rumors of a Facebook-like feed arriving next week. It was “never planned,” he says. In fact, Dorsey adds that the company hopes to make Twitter “feel more, not less, live” — he knows full well that you want that steady stream of updates.
It’s not clear where the rumor came from if it wasn’t true, but it’s not shocking that Twitter would largely stick to a chronological feed. That feature is precisely what separates it from other social networks — despite Facebook’s attempts to improve its handling of live events, Twitter is still where you go to find breaking news, share reactions to a TV show or watch the latest music beef unfold. Out-of-order features like “while you were away” can help you catch up on things you missed, but they wouldn’t make much sense if they were your primary gateway to Twitter.
Hello Twitter! Regarding #RIPTwitter: I want you all to know we’re always listening. We never planned to reorder timelines next week.
— Jack (@jack) February 6, 2016
Source: Jack Dorsey (Twitter 1), (2), (3)
Android 6.0 Marshmallow rolling out to Sprint’s HTC One M9
HTC has been pretty attentive when it comes to updating its phones to the latest versions of Android, and it looks like the HTC One M9 on Sprint is next in line. According to Sprint’s software support page, the update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow started rolling out to the One M9 on February 5th. As is the case with most software updates, you might need to wait a few days to upgrade your phone until the rollout is complete.
This new update will bring the One M9’s firmware to version 3.41.651.3. Just what will you get with the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update? For starters, you’ll get to take advantage of Google Now on Tap, which will bring the power of Google Now to virtually every corner of your phone. You’ll also get more granular application permissions control, a killer battery saving feature called Doze Mode, and much better volume controls. For a full rundown of many of the user-facing changes in Marshmallow, our own Joe Hindy created an informative video that explains the new features.
As stated previously, you may need to wait a few days before the update becomes available for your phone. If you have yet to get the update notification, head to Settings>System updates>HTC software update>Check now to check manually. Have you gotten the update? If so, let us know how you’re liking it in the comments below!
Here are the videos you don’t want to miss this week – February 6, 2016
It hasn’t been all too busy in the Android world this week, but our video team has been hard at work to bring you some wonderful Android-related coverage.
This was a very comparison-heavy week. Josh just published his big Huawei Mate 8 vs Nexus 6P comparison, Lanh compared the honor 5X, OnePlus X and Nexus 5X, and Gary did a great job at comparing all of the fast charging standards out there. That’s not all though – Bailey got a chance to review the new BLU Vivo XL, Gary took an in-depth look at what’s inside the Kirin 950 processor, and Joe rounded up the best Android apps of the week.
Alright, I’m done talking your ear off. Without any more delay, here are the videos you don’t want to miss this week.
Huawei Mate 8 vs Nexus 6P
The Huawei Mate 8 and the Nexus 6P are two of the manufacturer’s best smartphones to date. But how do they compare against one another? Be sure to check out Josh’s full comparison of the Mate 8 and Nexus 6P.
honor 5X vs Nexus 5X vs OnePlus X
The new honor 5X and OnePlus X are both available for under $250, but how do they compare with this year’s inexpensive Nexus device? Join Lanh as he compares the honor 5X, OnePlus X and the Nexus 5X.
Fast charging standards compared
With so many fast charging standards out there (Qualcomm Quick Charge, OPPO VOOC, MediaTek PumpExpress+, Motorola TurboPower), how can you tell which one is the best? Gary compares all of these standards and tries to figure out which fast charging method is the best out there.
BLU Vivo XL review
We don’t normally see AMOLED displays, full 4G LTE coverage and full day battery life on sub-$150 smartphones, but that’s not the case for the BLU Vivo XL. Of course, a smartphone that’s this inexpensive doesn’t come without its flaws, but is the low price point enough to make it a good value? Check out Bailey’s full review of the BLU Vivo XL.
An in-depth look at the Cortex-A72 and Mali T880
One of the key CPU core designs for 2016 is the Cortex-A72, which can be found in the Kirin 950. The question is, how well does it perform? Gary explains everything you need to know in his informative video attached above and written portion below.
Android Apps Weekly
Spotify gets video, Final Fantasy IX gameplay, VR for all! – you don’t want to miss the latest episode of Joe’s Android Apps Weekly show.
Review: Data Boy is a proficient, all-in-one USB tool
There are sure some awesome tech gadgets out here on the Internet. Be it some super crazy invention, or a device that does some magic, you can never NOT be surprised by what comes out. When I saw the DECEC Data Boy, it quickly fell into the “must check out” category. There is really no specific function or title for Data Boy, as it is several things at once. Think of it as the tech version of the Swiss Army knife.
Taking the basic shape of a memory stick, it offers different tiers of storage integrated into a tool that can be used as USB OTG, a charger between two devices, a data ‘cable’ and a memory stick.
It may advertise all the bells and whistles, but how does it stand up and, most importantly, is it worth your money?
Because nothing like it has ever been made before, Data Boy shows off a unique design. Comprising mostly of (strong) plastics, the tool doesn’t exactly shout out poor quality, but rather, feels sturdy. The rubber arms aren’t very agile however, and appear to want to pop out their sockets. Fortunately, they can actually move quite a bit and are well anchored. This main piece also houses the USB which you plug into computers.
On the arms, you’ll find two male connections on each tip. Depending on your configuration, you could have either MicroUSB/MicroUSB or MicroUSB/Lightning.
The top has a neat Zinc-alloy ring which allows you to conveniently attach it to a keyring. There’s also a smile-shaped line that lights up when the product is successfully connected to something.
It’s small, neat and easy to use – just like it should be. Slightly bigger than a memory stick, which means you can take it anywhere.
This is where Data Boy has the opportunity to shine the most. Due to the nature of the product, you could use it all day for various things. DECEC wants it to replace your memory stick, USB OTG dongle and even your data cable in some situations.
Using a specially made processing chip, dubbed “Intelligent Chip”, it automatically detects what you want to use it for. Say you’re using it as a USB OTG dongle, but you then want to charge your Bluetooth earphones. Once you plug them in on the receiving side, the OTG function is switched off and the charging commences.
Let’s break it all down and see how it performs.
As you can imagine, a memory stick is a memory stick. There’s quite simply not much to say here. I would however like to mention a thing or two. Firstly, you won’t experience the usual gripe of inserting it correctly into the USB port, as the design means the smiley face is always facing upwards. Secondly, the transfer speed is probably not as fast as you’ll like it to be. Slightly slower than USB 2.0, it takes noticeably more time to transfer even just a few photos. This is likely due to the fact that it’s not exactly your standard data transfer and may have to go through the Intelligent Chip. Not a big deal, but could be better.
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USB OTG Dongle
What I’d say is the main function of Data Boy, the USB OTG feature works how you’d expect it to, granted that your phone supports it. Again it suffers from sluggish transfer rates, although it is stable and works without a hitch. To access it, you simply just open the File Manager and use “USB Storage”. It shares the same storage module that your computer writes to, meaning that you can basically plug your memory stick into your phone and access the same documents. Which is, kind of how you’ll expect it to work.
The transfer rate is definitely fast enough to watch movies and video. I do think this is due to the fact that it is only reading from the storage and not writing to it, which takes longer.
You cannot, however, transfer files larger than 4GB. This is a restriction placed on the FAT32 format, which is basically a way of storing data on hard drives. Your Android also uses this and it would unfair to criticize DECEC for using this as Android is designed for FAT32. This may also explain the slower data transfer rates as this format is known for being slow.
Of the two, only one connection supports USB OTG.
When plugged into a PC port, Data Boy is a memory stick. Upon connecting your phone to the opposite end, it acts like a data cable, giving you the ability to transfer files from the phone storage to the PC via MTP, and vice versa. Likewise, it will also charge your phone at the same time. It worked superbly, and gave me faster transfer speeds as compared to when accessing the internal Data Boy storage.
You can, if you’re desperate, connect your Data Boy to your wall charger and charge up to two devices through it at the same time. It charged my G4 at the same speed as the standard data cable. It is however awkward to use as it is very short and not very flexible, as I pointed out earlier.
Transfer battery power
This is the one feature which is likely the most handy, although only if properly utilized. Connecting two devices on each arm of the Data Boy will initiate a power transfer. The phone on the OTG side will charge the device on the opposing side. Do not expect to swap charge between two phones, though. There simply isn’t enough power available to do so. It may take very long to charge even a little, even if a phone detects incoming power. You can only really charge items with small batteries, like a Bluetooth headset. You could also plug a power bank in the other side, which would effectively make it a data cable again.
Is it worth it?
If it will help you on a daily basis, then it certainly is. There is no competition on the market as there is nothing else like it. For $25, you can get the 16GB MicroUSB/MicroUSB version, and for $30, you can get the 16GB MicroUSB/Lightning version. It is a quality product that should last through many occasions.
DECEC’s Data Boy is an awesome, feature-filled USB utility. Extremely portable, it can be used virtually anywhere and can reduce the number of items you carry around to just one. The reliability, quality and usefulness of it makes up for the slow data transfers and limitations. It shall not disappoint you.
Currently, DECEC has a flexible goal offer on Indiegogo. If you’re interested in getting one, supporting a perk will guarantee you your chosen version of Data Boy, whether the target is reached or not. You can get yours on their page here.
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How to stream Super Bowl 50 from your phone, tablet, or media player
The biggest day in U.S. professional sports is finally upon us. All eyes, domestic and international, will be focused on Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara as the National Football League presents Super Bowl 50 between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. This year it’s CBS’ turn to show the game, and the network is seeking to win itself the title of having the most-watched television broadcast in history. Around 168 million people watched the game on NBC last year and CBS would love to beat that by exceeding 170 million viewers. It’s entirely possible that Super Bowl 50 breaks the record because of its storylines. Peyton Manning could cement his place as an all-time great by winning and ride out into the sunset while Cam Newton would silence the haters. The real surge in viewers, however, will come during halftime. Coldplay will be joined by Beyoncé and Bruno Mars (and perhaps others) for a lively halftime show to commemorate the Super Bowl’s place in entertainment.
Now I’m sure you already have plans for the game and intend to watch it with friends on a massive television, but streaming is becoming a huge part of the Super Bowl as well. So I’m going to tell you what you’ll need to do to stream Super Bowl 50 on any device.
Last year’s game was streamed by an average of 800,000 people per minute on NBC Sports Live Extra on desktops and tablets. The streaming quality was good and didn’t struggle to hang in for a big wave of viewers, presumably because NBC Sports Live Extra is used for a portfolio that includes Sunday Night Football and the Olympics. CBS doesn’t have quite the same experience; however, I’m willing to bet CBS President & CEO Les Moonves and CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus bolstered infrastructure to welcome anyone who wants to stream Super Bowl 50. It’s ‘go big or go home’ for CBS.
For anyone wanting to stream the game on a device that isn’t a smartphone, CBS will be streaming Super Bowl 50 through the CBS Sports website and apps. This means you can stream the game completely free on computers, Android and iOS tablets, Android TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, and Xbox One. CBS won’t be asking for television provider credentials.
But potentially preventing you from watching the Panthers and Broncos go at it in California is Verizon. The carrier has a deal with the NFL to stream all games exclusively to Verizon customers using the NFL Mobile app. While Go90 will also be streaming Super Bowl 50, users of that, too, will need to be Verizon customers.
CBS will be carrying Super Bowl 50 on February 7 at 6:30PM ET, but the pregame show hosted by the network’s NFL Today crew starts at 2:00PM ET. James Brown will lead discussion and analysis between Bill Cowher, Tony Gonzalez, Bart Scott, Boomer Esiason, and many other guests before Jim Nantz and Phil Simms take over to call the NFL’s season-ending championship game.
Via: CBS Sports
Click here to view the embedded video.
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Earin’s wireless earbuds are ambitious but flawed
For the past year and a half, Swedish startup Earin has been trying to turn a Ryan Gosling–inspired earbud concept into a proper working product. The hook: Unlike other Bluetooth headsets, these $299 earbuds are completely wireless: They sync with each other and a phone, and… that’s it. The concept is one of those things I didn’t even know I needed, but after spending a week with the Earin buds, I’m almost ready to pick up my pitchfork and wish death upon the headphone cable. Emphasis on “almost.”
The experience starts with a stainless-steel tube and a carrying case/battery into which you stick the buds. Its 600mAh cell should charge each of the buds’ 60mAh batteries about three times, and that’s pretty much exactly what I saw during my testing. It would have been nice, though, if the single LED indicator on the tube offered up a little more information; the light turns red when charging the buds and just shuts off when done, which left me wondering whether charging was complete or if the case itself ran out of juice. Fits of paranoia aside, the case is attractive and works as advertised. Once you pop the buds out of the case, just pair with your Bluetooth device of choice. There’s an Earin companion app too, though all it’s really good for is checking each bud’s individual charge.
But enough of that: Let’s get to how the headphones sound. In a word, adequate. The mechanics of squeezing batteries and radios into these tiny buds means designers had no shortage of constraints, and we’re ultimately left with audio that neither stuns nor disappoints. Mids come through crisply and even the highs occasionally get a chance to shine, though your choice of music might not play to the Earin’s strengths.
Case in point: While the lows usually feel tight and sufficient, bassy tracks come off more subdued than I’d like. To be clear, I’m not one of those people who digs bass lines that thump skulls; my tastes are more modest. Even so, the aural foundation that bass lines build never feels fully formed here, leaving hip-hop and certain kinds of electronic music sounding wimpier than normal. Now, remember that Earin app I mentioned earlier? You can toggle a Bass Boost feature from in there to try and liven up the lower end, but it’s generally not worth it. Sure, you’ll get some meatier bass, but you’re otherwise left with music that doesn’t sound the way it’s supposed to. Really, it’s your music’s sense of space — the soundstage, as it were — that gets the short end of the stick. Just about all of the tracks I sampled sounded at least a little constrained, with cast recordings for Spring Awakening and Hamilton feeling particularly cramped.
These sound issues aren’t unique to the Earin, but they’re tough to swallow considering the other constraints we’re working with. For one, you’re only going to get two and a half to three hours of audio out of the buds before they require a trip back to the charging case. So much for using these things on long flights. Neither bud has a microphone, either, so you’ll have to pop them out of your ears and answer the phone the old-fashioned way.
I also ran into a handful of connectivity issues where the audio would drop for a moment when my phone was too far away. In most cases, “too far away” meant my phone was in my front right pocket; since the left earbud is the one that actually forges and maintain a Bluetooth connection with the audio source, I had to be more thoughtful about where I put that source. These moments were rare and mostly fleeting, but obnoxious nonetheless. And then there’s how the buds are built.
Chalk it up to either ear shape or clumsy fingers, but you will eventually drop one of them. Unlike some other fully wireless earbuds, the Earins are totally cylindrical, so they’ll start rolling away the moment they hit the ground. The bud design jibes nicely with the cylindrical case, but it would’ve been nice if they didn’t flee after a fall.
Thankfully, the Earin comes with three sets of memory foam buds that did a fine job of keeping them in place. The Engadget Fitness Challenge has given me a reason to strap on my running shoes again, and I’m happy to report that these buds passed the exercise test without too much trouble. Your mileage will vary depending on how fast you go and how your ears are shaped, but the earbuds never fell completely out of my ears during a jog. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel the buds start to shift. A quick poke got them back where they belonged before I had to pause my run and search for a stray bud.
So, yes, the Earin is an ambitious but flawed product. There are moments, though — prolonged ones, even — when the entire package works like a charm. It’s magical. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sighed out of sheer relief because I didn’t have a headphone cord to get tangled up in my scarf or my bag strap. Or when I suddenly got up from my desk and realized I was still listening to my audiobook without seeing my phone skitter along the ground. Still, the connectivity issues, combined with fairly average sound, do a lot to detract from the undeniable coolness of a completely wire-free pair of earbuds. If you’re into the idea of rocking some truly wireless earbuds, you might have better luck with the $299 Bragi Dash. Otherwise, the Earin could be a solid deal after a price cut and some updates.
Watch the Engadget staff on: Getting ready for Super Bowl 50
Super Bowl 50 weekend is here, and who is better equipped to talk you through preparation than a squad full of Engadget editors? As the Big Game approaches, some of our staff sat down in the studio to explain what they do (or don’t) know about football and make some gameday suggestions. Every topic is on the table, from player safety to calorie counting to Grindr. Here’s what they had to say.
Better call quality is coming to Hangouts
Hangouts has been at the top of Google’s priorities lately. The recently pushed 7.0 update brought some nice new features and a ton of small fixes. Google is looking to take things to the next stage now by significantly improving audio and video quality.
Google wants users to be able to share great experiences over Hangouts, and where better to start than call quality. Considering that Google can’t change the quality of everyone’s camera and microphone they use for Hangouts, Google pans to create a direct peer-to-peer connection, which could potentially help improve voice/video quality drastically.
Google is always looking to better people’s experiences through the use of their services while keeping it safe at the same time. Unfortunately, with the direct peer-to-peer connection, security and privacy are a major concern. This is because each member’s IP address is up for show during the call. Google knows that one’s IP address needs to remain confidential because of the dangers that can take place if one gets possession of another’s. Let’s hope Google can come up with a solution.
The additions are making way to the Android version of Hangouts already. Those on iOS haven’t gotten the capability just yet. For now, it might be a good idea to only chat with people you know would cause no harm. We’ll keep you posted if we hear more.
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[Deal] T-Mobile offers customers an Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 7 basically for free
In honor of Valentine’s day, T-Mobile is giving away Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 7 tablets basically free. Here are the details.
The deal is only for the Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 7 and will last until supply runs out. First you must setup the device with an Equipment Installment Plan as well as a data plan with at least 1GB on a monthly basis. T-Mobile will offset each monthly charge of $7 for equipment. It will be labeled with “Credits and Adjustments.” You’ll also pay a $0 down payment. T-Mobile has promised to pay all the monthly charges so long as you keep your account in good standing. If not, the remaining balance of the device becomes due.
T-Mobile is obviously trying to clear stock of the tablet for new ones to take its place. You can purchase the offering at select T-Mobile stores or online at the carrier’s website. To find out more on the promotion, click the link down below. Get it now before quantity runs out!
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